Friday, October 28, 2016

Campaigning For Profit

When the 2016 Presidential campaign is all said and done, I look forward to the book Donald Trump will publish bragging about how much money he made on the process.  The self-proclaimed billionaire kicked off his run for the White House by claiming that he could self-fund his campaign--even though it would be a "major sacrifice" to do so.  And at first, that appeared to be true.  Trump didn't hold big-money fundraisers or send out contribution requests early in the primary process. 

But then he started talking about how people would send him $10 in the mail with letters saying "I know you don't need this--but I just have to help".  And that's when the campaign put "Donate Here" buttons on their website--and social media posts started popping up on our timelines asking for money--which The Donald claimed he would "match out of his own pocket".  The campaign even sold a "Black Card" for larger donors--which looked like a fancy credit card--but didn't actually provide any benefits to the buyer.

What Trump is almost sure to brag about is how much of that money went right back into his own bank accounts.  Trump's campaign headquarters is located in his own building in New York--which means any "rent" he is paying goes to his own bottom line.  He's flying around the country in his own plane--which he then reimburses with campaign donations.  On the road he stays at his own hotels and resorts--again reimbursed.  And the fundraisers that he has hosted have been at his own estates--which can also be charged back to the campaign.

And if Trump is actually matching all donations out of his own pocket, Trump for President must have raised only 31-thousand dollars this month--because that is all campaign finance records show the candidate contributing to the effort.  That is likely a contributing factor to the staggering funding gap between the two campaigns--as Hillary Clinton raised $513-MILLION through October 19th--while the Trump campaign has brought in just $255-MILLION.  Most experts agree it is the most substantial difference they have seen in modern Presidential campaigns.

To his credit, Trump has been able to keep his national advertising spending to a minimum as his outrageous comments and behavior have all but guaranteed that all news coverage has focused exclusively on him.  But it will still be interesting to see just how much of a moneymaker this campaign has been for Trump.  And you know he'll be more than happy to brag about it.

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